Fashion, Arts and Design Meet Business Enterprise at ICE-FAD

A typical fashion, art and design professional is often described as a dreamer, someone who enjoys coming up with imaginative and creative ideas. They usually work in the industries of fashion, art and design.

Because monitoring cash flows and balancing the books do not usually spark interest among these creative professionals, financial independence may be a common problem they face particularly because they might find it challenging to manage the business side of their crafts.

Because their natural gifts are often so highly specialized, creatives tend to overlook the business and money management skills needed in their work, which may be beyond their areas of expertise. This leaves them unable to focus on harnessing skills that can help them build a financially sustainable business, such as skills in financial management, sales, marketing and staff management.

This is why Institute of Creative Entrepreneurship-Fashion, Art and Design (ICE-FAD) is a unicorn on its own among the sea of local fashion schools today. ICE-FAD is a fashion and art school inside EDSA Shangri-la Plaza Mall, that separates itself against its competitors inevitably because it pioneers in instilling in creative minds that to succeed in the fashion and art business today, one should learn that “it takes 90% business acumen and 10% design ingenuity” to truly survive in the creative entrepreneurship.

“Big (fashion) designers now like Francis (Libiran) have business partners, but we want to produce students who are the designers and do the business themselves also. It is better that you know whatever goes on with your business, that you know every corner and side (of your business),” said Claudine Joson, Chief Operating Officer of ICE-FAD.

Aside from the basic fashion courses such as Patternmaking, Sewing and Fashion Illustration, Institute of Creative Entrepreneurship- Fashion, Art and Design or ICE-FAD offers courses like Fashion Entrepreneurship, which provides an outline of the entrepreneurial skills needed in the fashion business for emerging designers who are considering putting up their own label or couture shop. This particular course focuses on the challenges and process of starting a small business, and an overview of how the local and international fashion industry works. It also has courses such as Fashion Marketing and Brand Management, which helps its students understand the significance of branding and marketing strategy as they are as important as design, craftsmanship and product development. The course teaches students understand how the values of a brand are translated into unique selling points, and expressed through PR, Marketing and Advertising efforts. Students are trained here how to develop creative ideas that will shape the minds of the consumers and evoke a sense of emotional attachment to your brand.

Humble Beginnings

“When we opened last January 2017, we started with just two students who took up the full term, which means five basic courses comprised of Basic Patternmaking, Basic Sewing, Research and Development, Fashion Illustration and Fashion Marketing and Brand Management, “ Claudine shared. “If you do not have any idea about fashion business or process, those are the courses we usually suggest for students to take. We also had five more students who took individual courses. We have not launched yet and we have had more than 500 students, composed of both full-term students and individual course students. We are still starting to grow and still putting out there that there is a new fashion school with this concept of offering both craftsmanship and business courses in fashion, arts and design.”

Joson takes pride that most of their students do not have any fashion background prior to enrollment, and are now able to design and produce their own creations.

“Once a week of classes in two months would make for eight sessions, and with those 8 sessions, you can be done with the course. We are proud to say that in just two months of that duration, you will be able to make a dress, or pillowcase, or a curtain. One thing we can guarantee is that you will learn how to sew in just 8 sessions,” she shared.

“Most of the time, they do not know what they want and that is where I come in and my Admin Manager Raf Sison, who’s also a fashion designer. He is able to explain the courses better because he also designs. Usually we suggest Patternmaking, because that’s where you learn how to take measurements, put it on the cloth, and cut the cloth. Whatever you cut, you sew during the Basic Sewing. Those two are the basic courses that go together and are recommended for those who do not have fashion background at all.”

More Than A Fashion & Design School

The school is not just for fashion designers only. This pioneering art and business school also offers short courses on styling, photography, videography, jewelry-making, makeup artistry and event planning. ICE is not just a fashion school but an overall design and art school that specializes in entrepreneurship too. It also has a unique course in Fashion Law, which teaches future creative entrepreneurs how to protect themselves, brands and intellectual properties from stressful situations of theft of ideas.

“I came from a corporate world as I worked for a hotel for 8 years. This is my fist business and it gives me fulfillment. Our first ever student, literally with number 001 in her ID, Chynna Mamawal, has launched her own atelier. Her works have been featured in magazines and her clothes are worn by actors, celebrities and models. Recently, she has just had her first ever bridal fashion collection called Fleur Blanche, or white flowers in French, launched at a runway show sponsored by Century City Mall in Makati,” she said. “She has won clients who truly patronize her designs because she has learned how to manage the business side of her brand as a fashion designer as well. And she is just one of the business-savvy fashion designers we have produced in just more than a year.”

“It is just a testament that what we are doing is effective. Because it is not about enrolling a student and getting a tuition fee. When you enroll here, we really guide you every step of the way until you reach whatever you want to reach,” she said.

Claudine is one of the founders of ICE-FAD, alongside Chief Executive Officer and respected fashion design professor Monina Tan-Santiago, as well as ICE-FAD co-founder and marketing director Levenson Rodriguez, who is the brilliant designer behind Levenson Rodriguez Bespoke and Creatur-in-Chief of Fashion Designers’ Alliance Manila or FaDal, an organization of amazing fashion designers in the country. Tan teaches Basic and Advanced Patternmaking, Rodriguez teaches Fashion Styling, Fashion Marketing and Fashion Merchandising, while Joson handles the operations and student affairs of the school. All of the other teachers at ICE-FAD are working, successful and active fashion designers and creators themselves in their creative industries, which guarantees that the students get first-hand education from the leaders of today’s design and creative industries.

“We help our students have internships with renowned fashion designers in the country. We offer opportunities for them like helping them join fashion shows. No matter how small, even just two dresses on the runway will do as long as they get to experience it. We make them experience that they can be part of their chosen industry and show them that their goals can be achieved with us,” she said. “Basically, we want to contribute to the local fashion industry a new generation of not only talented fashion designers, makeup artists and photographers, but also professional, smart business people,” she concluded.

If you wish to know more or enroll at ICE-FAD, you may call (02) 997-8725 or email [email protected], and follow its updates on Facebook and Instagram with handles @theicefad.

Image Credits: Images from ICE-FAD

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